Spassky, Averbakh, Karjakin headline Moscow TV studio showcase

by Macauley Peterson
9/4/2017 – Boris Spassky, Yury Averbakh, Sergey Karjakin and four-year-old Mikhail Osipov, were the headliners at a glitzy day of chess in the Moscow TV studio Ostankino (www.ostankino.ru) on Tuesday, August 29th | Photo: Artur Terekulov

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Legends, current and future stars

Last week the Ostankino television center in Moscow organized a "Chess Day", a unique event open to the public, featuring the 10th World Champion Boris Spassky, the world's oldest living grandmaster Yuri Averbakh, and the youngest GM of all time Sergey Karjakin.

Karjakin played eight children from foster families in a simultateous exhibition sponsored by the "Change One Life" foundation, and Averbakh engaged in a friendly duel against the four-year-old phenom Misha Osipov.

Misha Osipov

Misha Osipov, just four years old and already a star | Photo: Artur Terekulov

Osipov is going to be a name to watch out for, but in this rapid game he evidently benefited from the failing eyesight of his legendary opponent, as mutual blunders under the bright studio lights underscored the novelty of such an intergenerational encounter.

[Event "Ostankino"] [Site "Moscu"] [Date "2017.08.29"] [Round "?"] [White "Osipov, Mikhail"] [Black "Averbakh, Yuri L"] [Result "1-0"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2017.09.02"] [EventCountry "RUS"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bb5 Bd7 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. Bc4 e6 9. O-O Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Bd2 Re8 12. Bf4 d5 13. exd5 cxd5 14. Bd3 Qb6 15. b3 Rac8 16. Ne2 Bc5 17. Rf1 e5 18. Bg5 e4 19. Bxf6 exd3 20. Qxd3 gxf6 21. Qf3 Bf8 22. Qxf6 Bg7 23. Qxb6 axb6 24. Rac1 Rxc2 25. Rxc2 Be6 1-0

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Elmira Mirzoeva y Yuri Averbakh, de 95 años

WGM Elmira Mirzoeva kibitizing over Yuri Averbakh's shoulder | Photo: Artur Terekulov

Elmira Mirzoeva, who hosted and helped organize the showcase, discussed the propitious meeting of Spassky and Averbakh, in an interview with Chess-News.ru:

Spassky"It is interesting that before the start of the event Yuriy Lvovich Averbah and Boris Vasilevich Spassky [photo at right] spoke with each other...In my opinion this is priceless! Because these two grandmasters are like two Titans. When they talked among themselves, discussing any position, I, along with Sergey Karjakin and Misha Osipov and all around us just stood open-mouthed, silently listening to them. And the most valuable thing is that these people, precious to all of us, met. Boris Vasilievich told many interesting stories, and his presence, of course, was especially valuable for us. He even took part in our event, in the sense that he commented on the course of the meeting, noted some points, even showed positions. Therefore, the presence of the tenth World Champion is a great honor for us, and special thanks to the organizers for the fact that he attended." 

Before his simul, Sergey Karyakin expressed the hope that meeting with a grandmaster would inspire other future Russian talents.

"The session was very interesting, the guys showed good results! They should continue to train and improve their skills," Karyakin shared. "I especially want to mention the young chess player Artemy Bakaev, he is 11 years old, and he has a great potential."

Karjakin simul

Sergey Karjakin | Photo: Artur Terekulov

Karjakin won all eight games. Unfortunately none of them have apparently been saved for posterity.

Afterwards there was a tandem game which saw Averbakh paired with Alexander Zhukov (president of the Russian Olympic Committee) against Karjakin and Osipov, the latter pair emerging victorious.

The event was attended by prominent public figures, State Duma deputies, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. It was held in a studio of Russia's "First Channel", a network which this year celebrates its 50th year in operation.

Other Russian media also reported on the day's events:

Karjakin simul feature (in Russian) | Source: NTV.ru

Little Misha Osipov has already made his chess and television debut on the "First Channel" when he played against another living legend, Anatoly Karpov last November:

Osipov (at three years old) vs. Karpov | Source: Russia's "First Channel" on YouTube

Correction August 5: Former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk was invited, but did not attend as earlier stated (based on the official press release).

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Macauley is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.
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macauley macauley 9/5/2017 01:04
@sshivaji - Of course it was not staged! The idea that Averbakh, much less a 4-year old, would (or even could!) stage a game is laughable. But clearly it was not meant to be a serious game but a friendly exhibition.
Rama Rama 9/5/2017 03:35
The explanation that I read on another site was that Averbakh's vision is extremely poor and he thought the kid played 24.Rad1. If he wanted to just throw the game he has the talent to do it in a more artful way. At least Karpov showed the kid no mercy and quickly brought him to tears.
daftarche daftarche 9/5/2017 12:13
don't stress on quality of the game. i think averbakh was very kind to the kid and didn't want to beat him. i am just happy to see avebakh and spassky active at the chessboard and getting attention.
sshivaji sshivaji 9/5/2017 12:02
This was definitely staged. They could have done a better job, on move 24, black can just take the knight on e2 and be 2 bishops up. ..Rc2 is definitely not a move that even a 1000 rated player will play. I guess the point was to showcase the talent of the white player. He clearly does have a lot of talent for age 4!
Snidery Mark Snidery Mark 9/4/2017 11:57
In the displayed game Mr Averbach should have merely played 22. .... Qxf6 game over.
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